Want a reason to load your backpack and take off to this enchanting land of the Mekong? Well, we are giving you 10 reasons to visit Vietnam – a backpacker’s paradise!
1. Dong for the buck (1 Indian Rupee = 355 Vietnamese Dong)
No matter what part of the world you’re from (almost), the killer exchange rate you get for your local currency here is bound to make you giggle. And also the fact that the currency here is called a ‘Dong’. Good luck though managing the notes though that start in denominations of thousands and go up to millions.
2. Snooze for a steal
In District 1 of Ho Chi Minh, the capital city of Vietnam lies Pham Ngu Lao also known as the Backpacker Street. Here, you will find yourself surrounded by travellers around the globe, trotting in and out of hostels that offer beds for as low as USD 5 a night. And this holds true pretty much in every part of Vietnam. If you’re lucky, your hostel will even offer you delicious baguettes and coffee in the morning and pub crawls in the evenings in this price.
3. Lipsmakcing meals pho you
Speaking of baguettes, Vietnam is an absolute heaven for street food lovers. Be it Asian flavours packed in a delicious bowl of Pho, the traditional noodle soup or the French influence found in Banh Mi Sandwiches, served in freshly baked baguettes, the streets of Vietnam won’t leave the foodie in you disappointed. Don’t forget to try the deep fried banana pancakes sold near the night market of picturesque Hoi An.
Also Read: A Survival Guide for Vegetarians in Vietnam
4. Coffeegasms all the way
If you think you have tasted the best coffee in the world, wait till you try the Vietnamese coffee. Served usually iced and with condensed milk, at tiny booths and inconspicuous cycle stalls, this mother of all coffees will blow your mind. Be sure to visit the Ben Thanh market and carry some delicious coffee back home. I’d like a pack too, please!
5. Paint the town red with pennies
If you’re looking for a stronger beverage, did I tell you how cheap alcohol is in Vietnam? Post sunset, practically all shops put out plastic chairs and serve cheap cocktail buckets and draft beers to party lovers. Cheapest glass of beer I chugged down was for INR 12 (4000 VND) at a riverside bar in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. Unbelievable, innit?
6. Booze and cruise
Imagine the maximum amount of fun you can have with just USD 6 and then multiply it by 10. That’s the booze cruise in a nutshell. Just land yourself in the beautiful beach town of Nha Trang, with white sand beaches and turquoise green waters and buy yourself a ticket to this mad adventure. This cruise (read ferry boat) will take you on a tour of 4 islands, provide you with snorkeling masks and a big spread of lunch all for a price for a meal at your favourite burger joint. And the fun quotient cannot be topped with a live band onboard and a floating cocktail bar that you need to swim to after jumping off the roof of the boat.
7. City markets and night markets
If shopping is your scene, Vietnam has ample to offer (maybe not for the mall maniacs). Old style central markets are found in every major town and city and night markets spring up on touristy lanes. It’s easy to get lost in the vibrant atmosphere of these markets with sellers of all kinds, clothes to lanterns, coffee to spices, flocked by locals and travelers alike.
8. The hop on hop off bus
For the free-spirited travelers, Vietnam offers a unique bus service which allows you to hop off at any of the destinations that fall on the route and you can hop back on the next day’s bus using the same ticket. These buses cover the length of the country plying usually between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Destination hopping was never so easy!
9. Cheap inter-country flights
Short on time, want to see everything but on a shoe-string budget! If you want to break this perennial traveler’s dilemma, Vietnam is the destination for you. With frequent and cheap flights from airlines like VietJet Air, you can easily fly between the major cities of Vietnam, at a price that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
10. Vroom your way through
Like in all tourist friendly Asian destinations, it is easy to rent a motorbike in Vietnam as a traveler. Avoid doing so in the major cities though, as the traffic can be quite haphazard to even manage crossing a road without peeing your pants. Smaller destinations like the French hill town of Da Lat make a perfect place to get your own ride and create an adventure story.
Vietnam, here we come!